Coop: Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Waiting for the Hanging Judge and AOL's new tag line: Cogito ergo I.M.

Will he or won't he? Only the Hanging Judge knows for sure, but Microsoft is spooked by the possibility that Thomas Penfield Jackson might issue a final decree next week. So spooked, in fact, that it's postponing a planned shindig in Redmond to roll out its much-ballyhooed Next Generation Windows Services. You can find out more at MS-DOJ: What's up next?

All this will be good for an interesting headline or two, but don't hyperventilate about the latest court doings. The NGWS road map that Microsoft unfurls will have more immediate impact on the company's fortunes than whatever penalties the judge metes out. That's because the appeals process will push a final judgment day to a still-undetermined date. Hope someone's been notified in Microsoft food services. Otherwise, it'll be something like "Man, this sushi tastes like it's three weeks old." Want to know more about why NGWS is so crucial to Microsoft? Go to Microsoft: The next generation.

More politicos are set to invade the Bay Area. This time it's the "New Democrat Network" that's coming to powwow during a three-day grin-and-grab with high-tech hotshots. The subject: The New Economy Retreat. And judging from the way dotcoms have been falling by the wayside of late, "retreat" is indeed the perfect word.

Intel is set to debut an IP telephony technology that column contributors say will help improve the quality of Internet phone calls.

Within the comfy confines of Harvard Yard you'll find some of the best and the brightest from the world of the digerati gathering to swap ideas about the interplay between the Internet and society. Something along the lines of, "I e-mail, therefore I am." (Or is that "Cogito ergo IM?")

Speaking of IM, new proposals for a messaging standard are supposed to be submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force by the middle of next month. Lots of luck. The biggest fish of them all in the messaging market, America Online, still refuses to open its network to rivals Microsoft, Yahoo! and Tribal Voice.

Who are the 12 most promising Internet startups? Beats me, but the vulture, er, venture capitalists participating in the VentureNet 2000 conference have selected a dozen hot prospects to present their plans to a gold-plated audience of money folks. Are these the stars of tomorrow? Even if they fail to live up to advance billing, you can't beat the view (from the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, Calif.).

A global networking outfit called "First Tuesday" convenes its first event in Washington, D.C. This is a schmooze event on a massive scale -- in conjunction with parallel events in 63 countries and more than 60,000 registrants -- that hooks up cyber-entrepreneurs with investors and Internet service providers.

After repeated disappointments, the FTC has abandoned its wait-and-hope approach to protecting privacy on the Internet. The fact is the industry has done a lousy job policing itself, and now the agency is pushing Congress to enact some kind of basic level of privacy protection legislation. Now the question is: What kind of rules will get set in stone? The last thing you want to do is kill the golden goose that is e-commerce. In the end, it's going to come down to economic opportunity on one hand vs. strict privacy on the other. Promises to be an interesting debate.

The House of Representatives escapes my righteous wrath for at least one week after voting to repeal a century-old 3 percent federal "excise" tax. The upshot is that phone service will become less expensive. It should also expand Internet access to folks who might otherwise not be able to afford it.

Two senior execs resigned from Corel. Unfortunately for Corel shareholders, neither one happened to be CEO Michael Cowpland.

I've listened in on cocktail chatter where certain bloviators hold forth on why RealNetworks is doomed to be the second coming of Netscape. I think the final story line will look a lot different. At a certain point in its competition against Microsoft, Netscape just ran out of gas. Judging from the raft of announcements coming out of the RealNetworks conference this past week, the company has lost none of its technology edge.

Microsoft hotshot (and Johnny Winter dead-ringer) Jim Allchin is going on a two-month vacation. He says he's coming back. Microsoft says he's coming back. The Coop is willing to take that bet: He ain't coming back.

I'll admit that I find it difficult saying much laudatory about AT&T. When it comes to making the right move, this has been a company that has rarely failed to blow a big opportunity. But I like AT&T's big investment in TellMe -- that is, if it's a harbinger of the company's voice portal strategy. By this time next year, voice portals will be a huge deal.

Note to Steve Case: If and when the Time Warner deal gets completed, conduct a psychiatric investigation of certain senior execs. First, Time draws upon itself the wrath of millions of Regis-deprived wannabe millionaires by yanking Disney from its cable channel. Then some nitwits in the company's Texas region hatch a scheme where employees place fake orders for DSL to determine where rival SBC has coverage. Time management played the plausible deniability card, blaming it on a "midlevel employee." No soap.

Chuck D went to Washington to testify before Congress. I was disappointed that nobody called him "Mr. D," an appellation that the Chuckster, renowned basketball fan that he is, might have liked.

Internet music on defensive
Corel gets cash infusion, loses execs
Alpha chip: Not dead by a long shot
Glaser: Keep e-music simple, stupid!
Can Linuxware stay afloat?, Disney settle patent dispute
E-books -- it's a brave new world
FTC gives up on Internet regulation
Here comes the wireless Web
AT&T invests in TellMe
Shortage: Palms hard to come by
E-music: Chuck D goes to Capitol Hill
Microsoft's Allchin: On permanent vacation?
IBM plots new PowerPC chips
Time Warner faces scrutiny over fake DSL deals
MS lays next-gen Windows cornerstone


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